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You may think like I once did, that your loved one needs an environment away from all the bad influences to make progress. But as family members, we're often blinded to the fact that by not setting boundaries we contribute to that negative influence.
On one side of the track is the physical momentum needed to fuel an addiction, (drugs). And on the other side is the emotional momentum needed to fuel the disease, (co-dependency). You are not responsible for his/her addiction. You are not responsible for his/her actions. However, you are responsible for your re-actions.
Think of a baseball game. The pitcher can throw balls all day, but there can't be a game without a batter. A similar dynamic occurs in drug addiction and co-dependency. Your role is to stop swinging at the ball that leads to destruction and despair for you and any children you may have. There is no guarantee that your loved one will get clean and sober, but you can stop the insanity of doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.
Today I am providing you with a list of boundaries that will keep a bad situation from getting worse. I encourage you to print it out and circle the ones that you desperately need to consider practicing. And then find someone who will support you as you implement your boundaries.
- Never give or loan money to an alcohol or drug addicted person.
- Never leave him/her alone with anything valuable enough to pawn, leading us back to number one: Never give money to an alcohol or drug addicted person.
- Never allow him/her to detox in your home.
- Never loan him/her your car, a key to your house, or co-sign for a loan of any kind.
- Never blame yourself for the natural consequences that accompany the choices he/she made while addicted. Stop bailing him/her out. It only leads to enabling, and neither of you learn or change.
- Never live with an alcoholic or addict who has zero responsibilities and zero accountability. Never live with an alcoholic or addict who has zero responsibilities and zero accountability. (It's worth repeating).
- Never attempt control with empty threats. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
- Never give to a spouse who is using drugs, control over the finances.
- Never have unprotected sex with someone who is using I.V. drugs or if you suspect your addicted spouse is unfaithful.
- Never, under any circumstances, leave your children alone with an active alcoholic or addict.
Okay ladies. Please review the list and get honest about what needs to change and how you can take one step in a direction that supports healing instead of more confusion and pain. If you have a specific question about one of the boundaries listed, go to the contact page and send it in.
"Father in heaven, thank you that none of us go unseen in your eyes. Only you can change a heart and redeem a relationship. Help us get out of the way and begin to rely on your faithfulness to those who are lost. And that includes addicts and co-dependents."
Celebrate Recovery and Alcoholics Anonymous are both helpful in providing the support you will most certainly need to maintain good boundaries. You can Google either group to locate meetings in your area. And I would like to add that if you happen to be the addict pitching the balls, they offer help for you too. God bless you. My husband and I are living proof that we can and do heal.
Published on Tuesday, September 15, 2009 @ 2:04 PM CDT